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Beckham’s illness news to Eriksson

by James Mulligan

MUNICH — Sven Goran Eriksson admitted England captain David Beckham kept him in the dark about the illness that caused him to vomit on the pitch after scoring his match-winning free-kick against Ecuador on Sunday.

Beckham’s brilliant 35-meter curler was the only goal of a dour game that put England through to a quarterfinal showdown with Portugal, but moments after scoring the Real Madrid midfielder doubled over and threw up on the pitch.

The 30-year-old Beckham said he had felt unwell before the game.

“I didn’t know he was feeling bad before the game — he didn’t tell me that’s for sure,” Eriksson said. “In the second half we saw it all — he didn’t need to tell me.”

Beckham said he thought he would be able to play the whole match despite his illness.

“I didn’t feel well before the game, but I thought I would be fine and in the first half I felt fine,” he said. “But the sickness continued in the second half, and it just came out.”

It came out after one of his trademark free-kicks that squeezed between the right post and ‘keeper on the hour mark.

“I haven’t scored many free-kicks this season, and in the last two games I’ve been struggling with them,” Beckham said. “Roberto Carlos (his Real Madrid teammate) sent me a text saying, ‘score me a free-kick.’ “

Central-defender John Terry said he was blown away by Beckham’s commitment despite his discomfort.

“If he is sick and can perform like that — he was different class today, the perfect captain,” Terry said.

Beckham put in a solid if unspectacular performance in the midfield and was battling for possession and clearing the lines right up to when he was substituted late on for Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon.

Beckham said the 1-0 win against Ecuador was a job well done, but admitted there was plenty of room for improvement.

“It was ugly at times and we haven’t played to our full potential, but we’re happy tonight. We’re through to the quarterfinals,” Beckham said.

Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard thought the slightly cooler temperatures compared to the other England matches so far did the team a favor.

“We were pleased because it looked as though it would be really tough, but the sun went in,” Gerrard said.